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Skyrim Join College of Winterhold

Updated on November 29, 2011

Skyrim Join the College of Winterhold

Skyrim Joining the College of Winterhold and then exploring the Saarthal Excavation Site to uncover the Shout ability Ice, Ice Form
Skyrim Joining the College of Winterhold and then exploring the Saarthal Excavation Site to uncover the Shout ability Ice, Ice Form

Skyrim Join College of Winterhold

In Skyrim, the hero should join the College of Winterhold for several reasons. By joining the College of Winterhold, the hero can unlock one of the more interesting quests in the Skyrim game, the Saarthal excavation site quest. This quest is necessary to obtain the Freeze shout ability - Ice, Ice Form. The College of Winterhold also contains trainers for training destructive magic, illusion magic, conjuration magic, restorative magic and alteration magic. The College of Winterhold also contains merchants who conveniently sell spells like Fireball and Flame Cloak. Lastly, the hero needs to approach the librarian and lorekeeper to ask about the Elder Scroll.

Skyrim Get into College of Winterhold

In Skyrim, the hero needs to get to Winterhold. Getting to Winterhold is really easy. From Whiterun stable, catch a carriage to Winterhold, and then proceed up an impressive looking ramp to speak to Faralda. The hero will find that to get into the College of Winterhold itself is not that easy. Faralda is the gatekeeper (of sorts) who will ask the hero some questions to facilitate getting into the college of winterhold, or be rejected.

The hero needs to convince Faralda he is on a sincere mission to be trained in magic. Hence reply that the hero wishes to train in magic of ice and fire to destroy the enemies. Faralda (the trainer of destructive magic) will be impressed and ask the hero to demonstrate summoning a flame atronach (tome can be purchased or dropped by thalmor wizard). This spell costs 132 magicka at the novice conjuration level, so only try to get into the College of Winterhold at high enough levels or use the Hide Magicka Helmet and potions of extra magicka to increase magicka to above 132 to cast this spell. Once a Flame Atronach has been summoned, Faralda will lead the hero to the courtyard of the College of Winterhold.

Skyrim Joining the College of Winterhold

In Skyrim, in the courtyard of the College of Winterhold, take the opportunity to speak to the Archmage Saros Aven and the Thalmor mage advisor Ancano. Also speak to Mirabelle Ervine about joining the college of winterhold. Following this, head into the Hall of Elements to speak to Tolfdir and formally join the first lesson in the College of Winterhold as a novice. Tolfdir will award the hero with a free Lesser Ward spell (to ward against magic), and then ask the hero to meet him at the Saarthal excavation site exterior after the lesser ward spell demonstration.

Skyrim Saarthal Excavation Site

In Skyrim, the hero heads to the Saarthal Excavation Site to meet Tolfdir and the other novices. From the bottom of the ramp that leads up to the College of Winterhold, go straight and then turn right to go up a path and then head approximately southwest from Winterhold to find the Saarthal Excavation Site. Note that the hero and his follower should try to clear out the ice wolves here (about three of them); otherwise the ice wolves will attack Tolfdir and prevent him from reaching the exterior of the Saarthal excavation site, and the door to the Saarthal excavation site cannot be opened.

Within the Saarthal Excavation Site, look for a man called Arniel Gane, and speak to him about assistance in the excavation process. Arniel will ask the hero to help him retrieve some magical artifacts in the mine. These include three enchanted rings (+ health points, so worth picking up) and one necklace - the amulet of Saarthal. These three rings are really small and almost invisible against the backdrop of the ground of the Saarthal Excavation Site, so look hard. Pick up the amulet of Saarthal last. This will cause an iron grate to drop down, sealing off the hero from the other mages in the excavation site. Now put on the amulet and cast an explosive spell on the golden seal that held the amulet of Saarthal. This will break and the hero can go through.

Note - a glitch here may freeze the skyrim game when the golden seal breaks down. To continue with the game, use windowed mode and the game will not freeze. Then use the normal resolution again after the golden seal break down.

Skyrim Defeating Jyrik Gauldurson

Skyrim Defeating Jyrik Gauldurson and getting the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson
Skyrim Defeating Jyrik Gauldurson and getting the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson

Skyrim Monsters,Treasures and Puzzles Within Saarthal Excavation Site

In Skyrim, the rest of the Saarthal Excavation Site is essentially a dungeon crawl, with lots of monsters and treasures. Monsters include draugrs, restless draugrs, a draugr wight and the draugr boss at the end - Jyrik Gauldurson. These fights with the draugr are not difficult, assuming the hero brought a follower (probably Lydia). Since the hero is most likely a mage, use the follower to tank and attack with magicka spells from behind (firebolt and flames dual casting recommended). The hardest fight will be when the hero and the follower will have to face two restless draugrs at once. Quick action is needed here. Spam attack one of the restless draugrs until he is down, and then concentrate on the other one.

The treasures within Saarthal Excavation Site are quite wonderful, and include -

  • Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson
  • Another staff of random magical powers
  • Gaulderson Amulet Fragment (+30 Magicka)
  • Writ of Sealing
  • the Ice Shout ability - Ice, Ice Form (look carefully for a wall with the word of power; this shout freezes opponents)
  • getting acquainted with the Psijic Order (more on this later)

There are two Saarthal Excavation Site puzzles which could be mind-boggling for the novice mage. The first puzzle is solved by looking behind each of the six pillars and pushing the pillars to look the same as the sculpture behind the pillar. The second Saarthal Excavation Site puzzle is solved by first manipulating the pillar standing to the left of the hero and further away from the iron grate (when facing the iron grate). Then manipulate the pillar standing on the right of the hero, followed by the pillar in front of the right pillar, and then the pillar in front of the left pillar. Then activate the lever and the hero can leave the chamber.

Skyrim College of Winterhold Magic Trainers

In Skyrim, once the hero has defeated Jyrik Gauldurson and discovered the strange blue orb, he can return to Winterhold to report to the Archmage. This return to the college of winterhold is rudely interrupted by an immersely difficult to defeat dragon (if the hero has killed the second dragon in Skyrim). Defeat this dragon, and proceed to report to the Archmage. After this, reorganize the items in the hero's possessions and sell some, and use the gold to train in the magical fields of the hero's liking. The trainers can be found wandering about or in the Hall of Countenance. The trainers are -

  • Phinis Gestor - Conjuration Magic
  • Drevis Neloren - Illusion Magic
  • Collete Marence - Restorative Magic
  • Faralda - Destructive Magic
  • Tolfdir - Alteration Magic

Once the hero has joined the College of Winterhold, and done all the quests he desires, it's time to return to the more difficult areas like the blood dragon outside Karthspire of the main skyrim quest. Or the hero can go and explore the other college of magic - Fellglow Keep.

Skyrim Become the Archmage Series

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